SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil enters its final days of preparations for the World Cup paying extra attention to its defense.
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari spent part of the team's training session on Monday making adjustments to the defensive setup, stopping practice several times to reposition players until he was satisfied.
Although Brazil didn't concede a goal in its two warm-up matches before the World Cup, Scolari said he was not completely satisfied with how his squad played defensively. He didn't even like how the team practiced at times, and publicly said his players were giving up too much space for counterattacks.
One of the coach's main goals in the last week of preparations was to make sure the team ready defensively in time for the opener against Croatia on Thursday.
"We know that if we don't concede goals, our chances to win matches increase, because we know the kind of talent we have in attack," Scolari said. "It's important we are well prepared on defense so we are not caught by surprise."
Right back Daniel Alves acknowledged that Brazil's defense isn't perfect, but said the team is working to improve before the opener.
When told that Croatia striker Ivica Olic said he saw spaces in Brazil's defense during the warm-up matches, Alves acknowledged that adjustments still have to be made.